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Marriage & Sex

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Marriage used to provide access to sex. Now it provides access to celibacy." Thus does Caitlin Flanagan summarize her review of a rash of books dedicated to the proposition that <a target=_top href="http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2003/01/flanagan.htm">"sexless marriages are an undeniable epidemic"</a> in the latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

    The books being reviewed are depressing. Some are concerned only with female loss of interest in sex, ranging from Patricia Heaton's <a target=_top href="http://www.patriciaheatononline.com/motherhood_hollywood.htm"><i>Motherhood and Hollywood</i></a> ("Sex? Forget about it. I mean that literally.") to Jennifer and Laura Berman's <a target=_top href="http://www.oprah.com/tows/booksseen/book_20010207_jberman.jhtml"><i>For Women Only</i></a> (which catalogues various techniques married women use to avoid sex in the context of overcoming sexual dysfunction) to Cristina Ferrare's <a target=_top href="http://www.thirdage.com/news/features/927830565.html"><i>Okay, So I Don't Have a Headache</i></a> and Judith Reichman's <a target=_top href="http://www.homeschoolzone.com/amazon/books/reichman.htm"><i>I'm Not in the Mood</i></a> (both about loss of libido in perimenopausal women). Two deal with psychological issues like being too busy (Alison Pearson's <a target=_top href="http://www.bookbrowse.com/index.cfm?page=title&titleID=1094"><i>I Don't Know How She Does It</i></a>), or resenting men and/or children (Cathi Hanauer's <a target=_top href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0066211662/102-1941255-6392922?vi=glance"><i>The Bitch in the House</i></a>). A couple give pep talks on getting sex back in life (Michele Davis' <a target=_top href="http://www.divorcebusting.com/sexstarvedhome.html"><i>The Sex-Starved Marriage</i></a>) or on using sex to get what you want from a spouse (Marabel Morgan's <a target=_top href="http://www.adamnthing.com/tw.htm"><i>The Total Woman</i></a>). But they have something in common: they all make you feel hopeless about marriage and sexual relationships.

    I came away from the Flanagan's review wondering if we had all lost the Sexual Revolution, if the two wage-earner household is inherently dysfunctional, if the nuclear family is doomed, if it is natural for women to hate men, and if child-rearing and sex are natural enemies. Flanagan wonders if housewives of the 1950s, fretting over their sexless college years and boorish husbands, were getting more action than today's more liberated and sexually experienced married women. Is the sexless marriage really becoming normal? Has the Puritan right won after all?
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    That clinches it. If I get rid of this one, I ain't gettin' married ever again.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Pretty sad, if you ask me, and let me add that the big loser here is not American men, but American women. In the long run that is.
  4. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Wow - nice post ethics.

    Yes, the two wage earner nuclear household is inherently dysfunctional.

    Not to pull an HW but yet again I have to bring up the changes in America in the 20th century after the industrial revolution set in and the agrarian lifestyle in America was snuffed out.

    It may seem odd to us modern folk, but working all day and living a clean life off the land makes both men and women horny as hell. Its a natural process - when human animals work with the earth to feed themselves and their families, their animal minds stimulate the drive to procreate the species... live on earth like the animal you are and enjoy some animal sex.

    The nuclear family has been doomed since around the 1940's - a major cause of sexual and marital dysfunction. The loss of the nuclear family has done more damage to this nation and the world itself than merely disturbing healthy sexuality.

    Has the Puritan Right won? My god no man, theyve been barking up wrong tree in the right forest from the get-go. We dont need to come back together as families because of GOD, we need a return to agrarianism and nuclear family values for our health and happiness and sanity.

    Sorta funny, really - the puritan cry for societal change will lead to serious extended humping.

    The earth is a rare exhibit of the process of nature in the universe, and the human mammal is an even more stunning exhibit of nature at play. How ironic that we refuse to live in accordance with nature, and cry 'foul' when our natural urges go silent.

  5. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    Excellent topic ethics!

    I had noticed that a few of my friend up in years have had little if any sex for years. Married couples that is...

    I never thought my married life would be barren also.
    Of course it never use to be. But with illness and different biorythms the time when it feels natural is different for both of us.

    The article seems correct in one aspect, that one or both partners will lose the appetite in the humdrum routine of daily activities, but if one can actually START the process the result is "Why have we stopped doing this", "it feels so good!".

    I think I will go upstairs and give my wife a backrub. That is always a nice beginning.
  6. Sharondippity

    Sharondippity Sweetness and Light

    Footrubs are even better, for that anyway.. more erogenous zones on the foot and behind the knee if you make it there
  7. Sharondippity

    Sharondippity Sweetness and Light

  8. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    Well, IMHO, I think the article is bullshit. :)
    First off, to assume that it's the woman that is stopping sex, losing interest, is angry, using it as a tool, is again, IMHO, erroneous. And, the fact that women in the 50's and earlier were having sex more often (supposedly, how would anyone know...they didn't talk about it then) says nothing to whether they were enjoying it or not. I believe that the pendulum (sp?) is swinging back from the beginning of the sexual revolution and women are talking more openly than they had in the past about what's going on.
  9. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    I understand that women dont actually lose interest in sex as they grow older. They simply develop an interest in romance.
  10. Paladin

    Paladin Have Gun -- Will Travel

    The nuclear family was the result of the breakup of the extended family. Prior to everyone picking up and moving elsewhere, you grew up around parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. If you had a problem with a child experienced help was there! Dr. Spock's book was needed because this extended family was gone and young parents were at a loss. Neighbors tried to take up the slack, but have been rebuffed and told that they may not discipline other people's children. We need help and guidence in raising a family. Without it you will have people who just say NO.
  11. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Or maybe, just maybe, what is starting to be percieved as the new mainstream for this, is actually an illusion created by all these authors, who themselves, may not be in touch with the norm...
  12. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    I like to refer to it as the post nuclear family.
  13. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Well, this part really stood out for me:

    "Pearson told an interviewer, "Until they program men to notice you're out of toilet paper, a happy domestic life will always be up to women"a sentiment almost unanimously held by the working mothers I know. What we've learned during this thirty-year grand experiment is that men can be cajoled into doing all sorts of household tasks, but they will not do them the way a woman would. They will bathe the children, but they will not straighten the bath mat and wring out the washcloths; they will drop a toddler off at nursery school, but they won't spend ten minutes chatting with the teacher and collecting the art projects. They will, in other words, do what men have always done: reduce a job to its simplest essentials and utterly ignore the fillips and niceties that women tend to regard as equally essential. And a lot of women feel cheated and angry and evenbless their heartssurprised about this."

    Lack of communication anyone? How about men and women really are different? Wow, what a concept! Hey, Washington, send a few million my way and I'll study it for you.

    Well, bless womens' hearts but they'll have to understand that men do think differently and do not assign the same weigh to the household as they do. I guess there is a lot of truth in the saying that a man judges his worth by his job and a woman by the appearance of her home.

    Guess that also explains why I have such a strong desire to make a go of my SOHO computer consulting business. It's a guy thing.

    As for sex in a busy relationship, plan it like you do anything else. Not romantic, you say? Ah, say I, but much better than no sex at all. Besides sex and intimacy can go hand in hand. It's all in how you approach things. A good massage works wonders. I know from first hand experience.

    So like with so much in life, you have to work at a good relationship (of any sort). What you get out is directly related to what you put in.
  14. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Speak for yourselves, guys! ;) Despite nearly 29 years of marriage, I don't live in celibacy. I also don't read any of those stupid books. IMHO, you can overanalyze your marriage or your sex life or both to the point where you end up like a deer in headlights. I agree with mikepd. Be nice to each other. Communicate. Take time away from work to spend with your family. Barring a medical problem, the rest will sort of take care of itself.

  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    "Barring a medical problem, the rest will sort of take care of itself.

    Absolutely, Allene. And footrubs do help, too. :)
  16. Allene

    Allene Registered User


    Agreed! May I also recommend a four-mile tramp through the Idaho hills; if you aren't used to that, though, you might end up soaking your feet instead of getting them rubbed.

  17. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I will try to answer as many of you as I can when I say that it's enough that we have stress and pressure in any marriage. Book's "honesty" is not helping the case.

    And if you are wondering why "honesty" is in quotes is that I truly believe too many angry women who were burned by men should NOT be labeling and judging ALL men based on their experiences.
  18. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Amen to that, Leon! Now you're getting down to business.

    Some men are better than others, and sometimes we women can be at least partly to blame for the mess we make of our lives. It's not always the men who are the bad guys. I think men, in general, are a pretty good bunch. :)

  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Allene -- even tho those hills are beauriful, four-mile treks are for horses, not bipeds.
  20. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Allene, and the above is precisely how problems should be approached. Men can be scum, just like women. Men can use and abuse sex in a marriage, just like women. Men can be great husbands, full of vigor and sexuality, just like women can make wives.

    Approaching the topic from a book or an advice column is wrong from the start.

    First of all, who buys these angry women books? My opinion: either other angry women who need to endorse and re-enforce their beliefs in men (all men are horrible pigs) or women who were recommended these books by (gasp!) other angry women who were burned. Misery loves company.

    Secondly, for any of you potential women who want to use and practice calibecy in your own marriage, I got news for you; don't think for a minute that any reasonable, healthy male will be staying home and using masterbation or abstaining from sex altogether just because his honey is doing the same. Nuh-huh. You are in for a surprise there, a surprise that will make you buy angry women books.

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